By on April 5, 2017

2016 Chevrolet SS - Image: GM

The Chevrolet SS is not what you’d call common. Since launching more than three years ago, only around 9,000 SSs had been sold through the end of February 2017.

There’s always been a righteous hankering for the Chevrolet SS among those in the know. Sure, the bland styling does it no favours. And at nearly $50,000, it lacks any semblance of a premium badge. But there’s a stonking great 415-horsepower 6.2-liter V8, rear-wheel drive, and manual transmission availability. It’s a BMW M5 at half the price.

Yet the Chevrolet SS has never managed to enter the public consciousness, and even in its best-ever month (April 2016) the Chevrolet SS was outsold by low-volume cars such as the Lexus GS, Volvo S60, BMW i3, Lexus RC, Nissan Leaf, Scion FR-S, and yes, even the Lincoln MKS.

Now, however, the Chevrolet SS has come to the end of its run. The chance to snap up an SS is fleeting. Naturally then, U.S. sales of the Chevrolet SS exploded in March 2017.

Explode, of course, is a relative term. With 1,217 sales in March 2017, the Chevrolet SS accounted for just 2 percent of Chevrolet car sales, slightly less than 1 percent of total Chevrolet sales, and around 0.5 percent of all General Motors sales. The Chevrolet Corvette, not exactly a paragon of ubiquity, was twice as frequent an acquisition.

But by the historical standards of Chevrolet SS U.S. sales performance, March’s results were astonishing.

Prior to last month, GM had averaged 228 SS sales per month. March’s total was more than five times stronger.

Prior to last month, the best Chevrolet SS month ever resulted in only 592 sales. March’s total was more than twice as strong.

Prior to last month, only 312 SSs were sold in the first one-sixth of 2017. March’s total was nearly three times stronger.

2016 Chevrolet SS sedan – Image: Chevrolet

Order banks for the SS closed in mid-March, GM spokesperson Jim Cain told TTAC earlier today. SS production ends in Australia at the end of this month.

Heading into March, GM had approximately 1,600 SSs in stock, according to Automotive News. As of today, Cars.com shows around 500 SSs in its dealer inventory, enough for you to join the throngs who are acquiring full-size, Aussie/American, rear-wheel-drive, V8-engined sedans.

You’ll pay a price, of course. Including a $1,000 gas guzzler tax, $995 for destination, and a $300 discount for choosing the six-speed manual, official 2017 Chevrolet SS pricing starts at $48,620.

While GM’s current 3.9-percent financing terms over 60 months are nothing to write home about, the SS participated in GM’s 20-percent-off plan in March. Expect at least some help from your local Chevrolet sales rep as you attempt to take an SS off his hands in April, as well.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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32 Comments on “Oh, So Now You Want One: Chevrolet SS Sales Finally Take Off Just In Time To Say Goodbye...”


  • avatar
    NotFast

    Is “GM spokesperson Jim Cain” Tim Cain’s evil twin?!

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      This car is an absolute failure which is crystal clearly reflected in its sales numbers. The 94 – 96 Impala SS was big, distinctly styled and made a statement. Just like the Escalade. I can not tell the difference between this and a US spec current gen FWD 4cyl powered Impala. It’s not even a sleeper.

      It like the Aussies went out of their way to make this car as unnoticeable as possible. GM AUS knew they had an Alpha male fire breathing machine, but were ashamed to let it hang out Loud and Proud! It’s indicative of the Aussies’ newly hatched PC cuck culture. Just sayin’.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I’ve said this here before, but despite its low sales, this car was not a failure. It came to the US out of an agreement between GM and the Australian govt to help keep the factory open longer by diverting some excess production here. At the same time, it was a bone thrown to enthusiasts who saw the G8 GXP disappear in a flash and wanted a V8/RWD/manual/fullsize sedan at an attainable price. A combo not available anywhere south of $100k. GM sold every one they intended to. The near universally positive press for this car, and thus GM, from reviwers and the NASCAR tie in opportunity were just icing on the cake.

        If you can’t tell the difference between FWD and RWD proportions side by side, I can at least promise you will hear the difference between the 4 cyl and the LS3…

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Well said Jack.

          This car was never intended to be a strong seller. Hard for people to grasp, I know, but its the truth.

        • 0 avatar
          Car Ramrod

          Over about the same period of time, BMW sold about 9,900 BMW M5s stateside 15 years ago. Sure that car cost about 1.8x as much with inflation, but nobody called that a sales flop.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        …The Chevrolet SS is not what you’d call common. Since launching more than three years ago, only around 9,000 SSs had been sold through the end of February 2017…

        …This car is an absolute failure which is crystal clearly reflected in its sales numbers…

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holden_Commodore_(VF)#Chevrolet_SS

        …On 20 February 2013 GM announced that the Chevrolet SS would not be sold in Canada, despite having been previewed there days before the February 2013 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.[64]

        On 6 September 2013, Chevrolet announced that the number of Chevrolet SS vehicles are limited to selected Chevrolet dealerships based on their sales of the Corvette C7 and the SS’s brother, the Camaro, claiming that the allocation might have more to do with production rather than supply and demand. Chevrolet projected about 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles a year…

        Do the math. The Chevrolet SS sold to predicted targets and what GM put behind it – which was about absolutely nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        Guitar man

        The car was principally designed for the Australian market and the “drama queen” styling of American V8s is not all that popular there (*cough* “homosexual” *cough*).

        GM didn’t make much money on them and consequently they didn’t really want to sell that many.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    The Nissan Leaf is a low-volume car? You’re making me want one!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Exactly. I think this could be a direct consequence of the relatively-large incentives GM has heaped upon remaining SS stock. At $46,000, there are a lot of other things you could buy…including the 4×4 truck that GM itself would *rather* you buy, since it carries a $10K profit margin, probably. But for under $40K, the SS suddenly becomes an alluring proposition.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I would have bought one if I could get one in the 30s to low 40s…

      50k was just too much for me, even if enthusiasts argued it was “worth it”.

      The problem with the 46k number is after taxes- including the GG taxes- it was well into the 50s. Fortunately it looks like the GG tax dropped on it and is only $1k now.

      I tried to order one but the dealer wouldn’t take a penny of, and my out the door price was like 53,500 or so, and I just thought that was too much to spend on it, so I backed out. I still might have paid 53k if it didn’t look like a damn impala, but 53k is a lot for an impala. (Looks matter to me, I’m NOT a sleeper car guy… I drive a yellow ferrari and used to drive an orange truck)

      I just priced out an SS and with taxes it came to $54,880. I keep hearing people say there’s “Great discounts” on them, but I never found a dealer willing to give a “great Discounts”, and any good deals I found on car gurus were black or blue automatics. For a bland car, I’m NOT buying a Black or Blue… or an automatic… haha.

      • 0 avatar
        NDNR

        You missed a nationwide 20% off MSRP for 2017 SS’s in early March. It was real, because I executed on it, picking one up for $39,600. Since ordering is over, you’ll likely see another 20% off in the summer to clear the last remaining inventory.

  • avatar
    Ianw33

    I like the fact that it was a RWD V8 sedan with a manual option, one of the last of it’s breed

    I can respect the idea of a vehicle of this type with restrained styling. However, the problem with this approach is two fold. First, their aren’t a lot people that want restrained styling with a RWD V8. The people that want that usually go up market into the German classes. The rest usually want something a little more exciting looking to match the powertrains’ character.

    Second, its hard to get too excited for a vehicle like this that you know is going to be short lived, not because the market is small, but because this was a shameless money grab by GM to squeeze a little more profit from the platform as Holden was fading into the sunset. Hard to get excited about something that you know is only going to be around for a couple of years and will be difficult to get serviced well.

    If GM really wanted this to be success, (which they didn’t) they would have offered lower trim levels with V6’s, and maybe eventually a CTS-V style trim level.

    Unfortunately they just re-gifted us an australian GM car and made a tweener. Priced significantly above the other domestic rwd v8 sedan (which can be had with 475hp @$38K), and a little to close to some very compelling luxury options.

    With all of that said, i wouldn’t mind having it in my garage. However, if it were my money, there would be other options i would pursue…..and it looks like the majority of buyers have done the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Like someone else said, the SS was actually brought here in order to meet GM’s quota for capacity levels at the Holden factory, according to its agreement with the Australian Gov’t. The car itself is highly unprofitable and GM seems not to want to build it. They don’t even want to sell it, it seems, because other cars in that price range, like an Acadia or a Silverado 4×4, carry higher profit-margins.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    The 20% discount offered on the SS (and other cars) during the month of March likely had a lot to do with the increased sales. Heck, it got me behind the wheel of another one for a test drive. And as I mentioned around that time, I came perilously close to pulling the trigger. With an OTD price of about $38,500 it was incredibly difficult to walk away from.

    Look for one last deep discount when the final batch of cars lands sometime around June. It’ll be the last chance to get a new FOB SS.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      If I could get a Green or Orange Stick for 38,500, I’d buy it today… I spent so long looking for a green one in the low 40s, and finally gave up. The lowest price I could get was $53,500.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I’ve fallen for the “we aren’t making any more” scam a couple times before. Once when Brammo Motorsports only built 6 Ariel Atoms with Honda motors, I bought one in a panic when they sent an email saying they only had 2 Honda motors left. The other was when I found out that that Crate and Barrel desk I wanted had been discontinued – I had to have one shipped across the country just to get one of the last ones. Not falling for it this time, Chevy…

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      (holding my ceramic coffee cup) I’m gonna have to go ahead and sort of disagree with you there.

      Once that Holden plant closes, that’s it. There is not enough demand for this type of car for them to ever tool up for it again. And even if they do, it will be FWD with a turbo 4-cylinder like everything else out there now.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I want to love this car. I love how it sounds and drives. The seats are good, there’s plenty of space for the family. But it’s such a homely looking thing. And the mileage is terrible (3.35/gallon here). I would also be concerned about parts availability should something go wrong.

    The SS is an exercise in left/right brain negotiation.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    The Dodge Charger SRT is everything the Chevy SS wanted to be.

  • avatar
    Dawnrazor

    Man, I wanted SO badly for the SS to be an option for me!

    The main factor which has kept me from going for it is concerns about reliability and future serviceability. Given that it is soon to be orphaned by the shutdown of the factory and being aware of several horror stories regarding G8 owners waiting weeks or months for replacement parts, it just doesn’t seem like the most rational of decisions.

    Looking instead at an Infiniti Q70 with the 5.6L V8. New MSRPs are quite a bit more, but year-old examples with <15k are fairly comparable to the SS prices; the only downside is that these cars are fairly rare (3.7 version much more common) and some patience will be required to find one. It has better fit and finish and a much nicer interior, comparable acceleration and handling, and will likely feature the reliability one expects of a vehicle with a "J" leading-off the VIN.

    Sadly, it appears the Q70 and Charger/300 will soon be the only NA V8-powered sedans remaining in the market, and I imagine the V8 in the Q70 will be gone sooner rather than later too.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    It looks so poor people.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    Sad to see it go, as there’s no direct replacement on the U.S. market horizon.

    Unfortunately, it is priced well beyond many an enthusiast’s means as a new vehicle. It will absolutely have a cult following, similar to a CTS-V wagon in many respects. Personally, I hope it depreciates MORE than a CTS-V wagon so I can actually afford one some day.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Do these suffer from the same premature suspension wear at the G8?

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    “It’s a BMW M5 at half the price.”

    Umm… no.

    That said, if I had the budget and were in the market, I’d be interested – at $40k.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I was one of the March buyers that took advantage of the 20% off sale. I traded my black/sunroof slushbox 2015 SS for a 2017 Regal Peacock Green 6mt with no sunroof AKA “the enthusiast package.” I didn’t order it, I was just in the right place at the right time and I pounced.

    I almost died last October so I don’t really care about future serviceability, gas prices or the stock market for that matter. Sudden Cardiac Arrest in your sleep will do that to a guy. It’s not perfect but this is probably my favorite car that I’ve owned and I’ve owned a few good ones in the 30 years that I’ve been driving. Get it while you can kids.

  • avatar
    Nicola

    I have a ’16 SS, bought for a few grand off MSRP. Love it every day. I cross-shopped the Charger, but it is not my cup of tea with respect to looks, and the Chevy is a better daily driver in that it is more refined, with a superior suspension and overall driving dynamics. Think of what other vehicles do what the SS does, and you begin to realize that it is a good value if you can not afford or do not want (both true for me) the German equivalents. What is nice is that SS buyers are enthusiasts who enjoy driving a performance sedan, and bought it for that reason. Is it the best thing on the road? No. But it is pretty darn good. Just forget about the badge snobbery, and enjoy the compliments from strangers.

  • avatar
    pb35

    For the record, I owned a 2015 SRT 392 for about 4 months before buying my first SS. It was a boat and was like driving a coffin compared to the low belt line on the SS. It was loud and fast and it did attract a fair amount of attention. People asking me if it was a Hellcat got old quick.

    My neighborhood is chock full of imports, I couldn’t care less about the badge.

  • avatar

    I’ve had a great experience with my 2016 so far. Fun, quick and practical enough for the family, aside from the poor fuel economy. I get nothing but compliments about it on top of the curious onlookers that want to know more about it. Very fun to drive everyday.

  • avatar
    armadamaster

    This car should have been the new Impala, instead of the LWB Malibu we got for an Impala instead. What a waste.

    Like some others have said. GM was fulfilling a contract obligation in regards to offering this car, that’s about it. GM had no intention of making a serious go with this, as evidenced by the bland styling, & importing it from overseas, & lack of marketing.

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